Which Fictional Wizard Would Win In A Magical Mega-Duel?

List Rules
Vote up the wizards and warlocks who would survive a magical duel to the end.

Shooting lightning from your fingertips, whispering a magic word to secretly enchant a monster, signing runes in the air. These are just a few of the methods the strongest wizards use to wipe out other wizards in the great magical melees that spring up from time to time in the vast range of media depicting spellcasters.

It raises the question: Who is the most powerful wizard in the collective realm of fiction? Could Albus Dumbledore use his wand to disarm Gandalf and his wizard's staff? Could Harry Potter's lessons at Hogwarts help him defeat Jareth the Goblin King's enchanting crystal orbs? Could Doctor Strange defend himself against both the sword and sorcery of Geralt of Rivia?

For this particular mystical showdown, we're looking exclusively at male magicians, wizards, and warlocks (although that's not to insinuate anything when it comes to female wizards and witches). We're weighing the merits of these wizards in a free-for-all scenario, so it's not just about them being talented magicians but skilled combatants as well. So, who will be the last man standing when these powerful wizards duel?


  • 1
    3,082 VOTES
    Photo: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring / New Line Cinema

    Reputation: Considered to be one of the greatest and wisest beings in Middle-earth, Gandalf has existed for more than 2,000 years and has helped countless creatures fight the forces of darkness.

    Beard Length: About 2 to 2½ feet long and grey, until it turns white.

    Strengths: As one of the Maiar, Gandalf is immensely powerful and wise. He has incredible magical strength, and can also swing a sword and ride fast and true on the back of Shadowfax, his horse.

    Weaknesses: Gandalf's main weakness - both as Gandalf the Grey and the more powerful Gandalf the White - is his fallible human body. When entering the chaotic fray of battle, his mortal flesh can be marred by an arrow or blade as easily as any other man.

    Greatest Proclamation of Wisdom: "A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to." - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

    3,082 votes
  • 2
    2,716 VOTES
    Doctor Strange
    Photo: Doctor Strange / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Reputation: Once one of the world's greatest surgeons, Dr. Stephen Strange is now one of its most powerful sorcerers. He's brash, cocky, arrogant, and talented enough to back up all of his bravado. He's helped save the world on more than one occasion, and is dedicated to defending Earth against evil magical forces.

    Beard Length: Short-cropped, well-manicured beard-goatee combo.

    Strengths: He is an amazingly fast learner, a naturally adept sorcerer, and a brilliant human being who formerly possessed the time stone (AKA the Eye of Agamotto), which allowed him to look into the future. He's also a companion to a magical flying cape that has saved his life more than once.

    Weaknesses: He's unabashedly arrogant and vain, and believes he knows more than everyone else. His cockiness can lead him into situations against surprisingly powerful opponents, and his vain entitlement can easily be prodded and provoked.

    Greatest Proclamation of Wisdom: "If I tell you what happens, it won't happen." - Avengers: Endgame

    2,716 votes
  • 3
    2,593 VOTES
    Albus Dumbledore
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Reputation: Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, is one of the most skilled and respected wizards in the Harry Potter universe. He's revered by practitioners of magic across the globe and feared by the forces of evil - to the point that his very presence is enough to protect the students who attend his wizarding school.

    Beard Length: More than 3 feet long, often tied decoratively into bunched, fluffy grey segments.

    Strengths: At 115 years old, Dumbledore has filled his brain with every inch of magical knowledge possible, and is experienced both in the study of theoretical magic and its practical application in conflict.

    Weaknesses: He's selflessly dedicated to the protection of his students, which could be used to manipulate him. Also, while more than a skilled magical opponent, he's still 115 years old and not quite as spry as he once was.

    Greatest Proclamation of Wisdom: "Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one that rises against them and strikes back!" - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling

    2,593 votes
  • 4
    1,983 VOTES
    Photo: Howard Pyle / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Reputation: In Arthurian legend, and even in the real world, Merlin is easily the most famous wizard. He uses magic to orchestrate the birth of King Arthur, then serves as a mentor and guide. He's a wise and brilliant enchanter, and remains one of the indelible fixtures of Arthur's long and complex story.

    Beard Length: Often very long, Merlin's beard seems to vary in length based on depiction, from a few feet to all the way down to the floor. 

    Strengths: He's wise, he's stoic, and he's naturally imbued with magical power. Born of a mortal mother and a demonic incubus, his supernatural parentage is responsible for his extraordinary powers.

    Weaknesses: His mortal form is generally depicted as older and frail. All the magic in the world can't save him from a well-placed blow from a sword or sling. Also, he admits that he's never studied magic, as it came naturally, but this means his powers are confined to what he can do by instinct, for the most part.

    Greatest Proclamation of Wisdom: "The best thing for being sad... is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake in the middle of the night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then - to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be [distressed] by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting." - The Once and Future King, T.H. White

    1,983 votes
  • 5
    1,909 VOTES
    Photo: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers / New Line Cinema

    Reputation: Aragorn sums up Saruman best in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: "Once he was as great as his fame made him. His knowledge was deep, his thought was subtle, and his hands marvelously skilled; and he had a power over the minds of others. The wise he could persuade, and the smaller folk he could daunt. That power he certainly still keeps. There are not many in Middle-earth that I should say were safe, if they were left alone to talk with him, even now when he has suffered a defeat."

    Beard Length: About 1½ feet, yet his hair is almost as long as his beard.

    Strengths: As a fallen White Wizard, his power is on par with that of Gandalf.

    Weaknesses: Exceedingly arrogant and mad with power and darkness, Saruman is deadly but proud. Also, much of his power comes from his aptly named Staff of Power, which if ever broken (let's say, by Gandalf perhaps?) would leave him essentially unable to tap into magical forces - though he'd still be a master manipulator.

    Greatest Proclamation of Wisdom: "I gave you the chance of aiding me willingly, but you have elected the way of pain!" - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

    1,909 votes
  • 6
    1,915 VOTES
    Severus Snape
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Reputation: Contemptuous, short-tempered, and often vindictive, Snape isn't a beloved instructor at Hogwarts by any stretch of the imagination. However, he is an undeniably skilled wizard, quick to the draw with his wand, and brilliant at potions.

    Beard Length: Snape is not described as having a beard in the books, and is depicted as clean shaven in the films. However, Mary GrandPré, the illustrator of the US Scholastic editions of the books, does draw Snape with an oily goatee.

    Strengths: He's nearly unmatched when it comes to potion-making. He's also a master of occlumency, making his mind almost impervious to magical intrusion and penetration.

    Weaknesses: He's incredibly vain and defensive when it comes to his intellect and his skills. He's also got a huge chip on his shoulder over his life's mission to secretly watch over and guide The Boy Who Lived.

    Greatest Proclamation of Wisdom: "The mind is a complex and many-layered thing, Potter - or at least, most minds are." - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling

    1,915 votes